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Full text of "How the English fingerprint method arose"

OLIN 

HV 

6074 

.F26 

H8 

1915a 




The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 



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In compliance with current 

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THIS BOOK IS THE GIFT OF 

Henry Pelouze de Forest 

Class of 1884 


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Wins Fame In Laundry Marks 



LONDON (/"".— The criminals of 
Great Britain are trembling in their 
shirts. A man who knows his laun- 
dry marks has become chief constable 
of Scotland Yard. 

It wasn't John Ashley who coined 
the old saying; about murder will out, 
but it's John Ashley who knows, per- 
haps better than any man living, that 
it usually comes out in the wash. And 
now Ashley, the specialist in laundry 
marks, is chief constable of the Yard. 
He succeeded Frederick Wensley. 
Britain's ace of detectives, who re- 
tired Aug. 1, after 42 years of service. 
Unlike 'Wensley, who has the hawk- 
like features of the perfect Sherlock 
Holmes, Ashley looks as mild as a 
Sunday school superintendent. 

He entered his career of crime de- 
tection quite by accident: as a lad 
of 15 he crossed the path of a burglar 
with disastrous results to the burglar, 
and when a police commissioner com- 
plimented him on the clever capture 
young Ashley decided to make a regu- 
lar thing of it. As soon as he could 
he joined the force. 

For six years he worked in uni- 
form ; then they made him a detective. 
Later, as a divisional detective inspec- 
tor, he solved one of the most per- 
plexing murder mysteries in .the his- 
tory of the yard by bringing to justice 
Louis Voisin, the Belgian butcher who 
murdered a French soldier's w : ife vis- 
iting England during the war. 

Ashley's acquaintance with laundry 
marks is vast, and intricate. To him 
they are as easy to read as the identi- 
fication tags soldiers carried during 
the war. To him every laundry in 
the land is an unofficial branch of 
Scotland Yard, putting nice little tags 
on all the people he may want to 
meet later. To him a shirt is as easy 
to read as a book, and a sock is as 
good as a letter. 

Criminals who value their privacy 
won't play drop-the-haudkerchief 
around Scotland Yard. 



HOW, THE ENGLISH 
FINGER-PRINT METHOD 
AROSE. j 



■ ■■ ■ 



BY 

HENRY FAULDS. 



'Thou hast no need of the things that are secret."— Ecclcsiasticus, III., 22. 



HANLEY: ^' # ,P 

Published for the Author by Wood, Mitchell & Co., Ltd., 
Oriel Works, Park Street. 



PRICE 3d. (post free). 



PREFACE. 



The publication of my recent Guide to Finger-Print 
Identification has laid upon me the burden of a rather 
heavy correspondence.—yfr^/, as to my claim to have 
been the earliest to publish a proposal to identify persons 
by the finger-print method ; and, secondly, in answering 
requests for further details as to the system proposed by 
me for classifying and indexing finger-print patterns. 

It was found to be difficult to answer civilly and 
correctly in a short sentence or two, inquiries which, how- 
ever kindly meant, were often full of errors, ignorance of 
published facts, and even of total misconceptions ; and 
again, no one but a close student of finger-prints could 
hope to profit by, or understand, an exposition of how to 
arrange them systematically in a bureau. 

Thus it seemed to me wise to word the matter for 
convenience in brief compass, and I really hope to have 
done so finally, for such work is neither very entertaining 
nor remunerative. 

I am now preparing, and hope soon to deposit with 
some learned society or university library, to which 
students of the system may have access, a clearly-written 
and bound copy of my index of Dactylographs. To 
print such a technical work for which no general demand 
can ever exist is beyond the limits of my present means. 
The proposal to have it printed by a certain learned 
society was met by the objection that it had already been 
made known publicly, as stated in the Guide, and could 
not now be embodied in original Transactions. 



How the English Finger-Print 
Method arose. 




£^ROF. Otto Schlaginhaufen, while my 
Guide was going through the press in 
England, published in the August 
number of Gegenbaur s Jahrbuch for 
1905, a very copiously illustrated, 
learned and accurate article on the 
lineations in human and other skins, a study of which 
forms the basis of the general science of Dactylography. 
The writer is attached to the Anthropological Institute 
of Zurich, and has given, I believe, more attention to 
this complex subject than any single English writer has 
done. He does me the honour of stating (p. 584) that 
with my contribution to Nature in 1880 there begins a 
new period in the investigation of the lineations of the 
skin, that, namely, in which they were brought into the 
service of criminal anthropology and medical jurisprudence. 
This publication, he says, is the forerunner of a copious 
literature which flowed over into the popular magazines 
and daily press, and promises to keep no bounds. After 



a correct summary of my original statements, he shows 
that I pointed the right way, as he believes, to gain a 
knowledge of man's genetic descent by a study of the 
corresponding lineations of certain lower animals, such 
as lemurs, and that I had indicated other directions 
in which medical jurisprudence might profit by such 
investigations. These are of no interest here. In a 
brief footnote Dr. Schlaginhaufen deals with the published 
correspondence between Sir Wm. Herschel and myself, 
which note I here give verbatim : 

"Zeitlich erschien die Publikation Faulds' friiher; aber 
Herschel wies durch die Veroffentlichung eines halboffiziellen 
Briefes nacb, dass er sich schon 1877 mit dem Gegendstand 
beschaftigt habe. Jedenfalls sind beide Beobachter unabhangig 
voneinander auf die gleiche Idee gekommen, und wenn auch die 
Materialien, die Herschel lieferte, fur die kriminelle Anthro- 
pologic speziell von grosserer Bedeutung waren, so hat Faulds 
doch in seiner ersten Mitteilung die Erforschung der Hautleisten 
von einem hoheren Gesichtspunkt aus erfasst und ihr in einem 
umfassenderen Plan den Weg vorgezeichnet." 

That is to say : 

" Faulds's publication was earlier in time, but Herschel 
showed by the publication of a half-official letter that he had 
been engaged with the method from 1877 onwards. In any case 
both observers had independently come to the same idea, and 
while the material which Herschel supplied was of greater service 
for special criminal anthropology, Faulds had in his first com- 
munication grasped the investigation of the skin lineations from 
a higher standpoint, and had indicated the way to it through a 
more comprehensive plan." 

With the decision of so competent a judge I have 
really no quarrel. A review of my Guide appeared 
in Nature, of date October 19th, 1905, and was signed 



F.G., in which initials some ingenious persons may think 
they can detect the clue to a distinguished expositor of 
the subject of finger-prints. The critic says of his victim, 
that he was "a zealous and original investigator of finger- 
prints." He also alludes to me in my 1880 contribution 
as "dwelling upon the legal purposes to which they might 
be applied, and he appears to be the first person who 
published anything, in print (F.G.'s italics) on this 
subject." Sir William Herschel himself on November 
22nd, 1894, in Nature made, though in rather circuitous 
language, a similar admission. The baronet says : — 
" To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Faulds' letter of 
1880 was, what he says it was, the first notice in the 
public papers, in your columns, of the value of finger- 
prints for the purpose of identification." 

If the words "in your columns" is intended to con- 
vey, or suggest, that other journals contained earlier 
references, this is met by the conclusive entry in the 
Index Medicus, in which my article is noted as the very 
first contribution of which knowledge had been obtained. 
Surely, the fact that a student has the courage to put his 
idea "in print" counts for something in the evolution of 
a discovery. And on the whole, as the world wags, 
printed publicity in a matter of cosmopolitan importance 
is the one thing that really matters. 

My critic goes on to say that my " suggestions of 
introducing the use of finger-prints fell flat." Perhaps 
they did, but only in the sense that they formed the 
foundation for a very extensive and vigorous upbuilding 
of scientific and even popular literature, which dates from 
that very period, as F.G. must very well know. There 



was a sudden waking up of interest just after that date, 
and even " Mark Twain" must have set to work very 
soon afterwards on his Life on the Mississippi, which 
contains a clever story based upon the value of " thumb- 
prints" as evidence. It was published early in 1883. I 
wrote before then, sending specimens to the police and 
criminal departments of most of the leading countries, to 
several lecturers on medical jurisprudence, and to many 
scientists and explorers. To my old professor of medical 
jurisprudence I offered to prepare a set of slides for class 
instruction, but got no acknowledgment of my proposal. 
Little was actually accomplished till my return to England 
at the close of 1885 through the sudden illness of my wife. 
My father's illness and death followed in 1886, and I had 
to look for a livelihood first of all. During the following 
two years which were chiefly spent in London, I had the 
opportunity, and used it, of expounding my ideas on 
finger-prints to many scientific people. I laid great stress 
on the fact of their permanence, which I had tested by 
careful experiment, and showed to many in London and 
Glasgow, specimens of them done from the same person 
at different dates. 

Mr. F. Galton, as lie has stated in his work Finger 
Prints (p. 2), began the study on which so much pre- 
liminary work had been already done by me, in 1888 just 
after these doings of mine. His cousin, Charles Darwin, 
had in 1880 promised to bring my letter to him on the 
subject of skin lineations before Mr. Galton. Whether he 
had omitted to do so, or that Mr. Galton has merely for- 
gotten the circumstance, I cannot tell. Mr. Darwin 
evidently from his answer to me had never heard of the 
subject till I called his attention to it in relation to the 



9 

genetic descent of man. It has proved to be a matter of 
the utmost importance in that respect, and the study is 
now being eagerly taken up by many students in various 
parts of the world Many of them, indeed, have already 
furnished most fruitful and significant details. 

F.G. adds what appears to me to be either a most 
serious or very ludicrous statement of the reasons why 
my suggestions were not fruitful, or as he more bluntly 
expresses it, "fell flat." 

I quote the passage in full : 

" The reason that he did not attract attention was presum- 
ably that he supported them by no convincing proofs of three 
elementary propositions on which the suitability of finger-prints 
for legal purposes depends. It was necessary to adduce strong 
evidence of the, long since vaguely alleged, permanence of those 
ridges on the bulbs of the fingers that print their distinctive 
lineations. It was necessary to adduce better evidence than 
opinions based on mere inspection, of the vast variety in the 
minute details of those markings, and finally, for purposes of 
criminal investigation, it was necessary to prove that a large 
collection could be classified with sufficient precision to enable 
the officials in charge of it to find out speedily whether a 
duplicate of any set of prints that might be submitted to them 
■ did or did not exist in the collection. Dr. Faulds had no part 
in establishing any one of these most important preliminaries." 

Now, if F.G. had contented himself with expressing 
his belief that Mr. Francis Galton had done much more 
in the matters spoken of than the present writer had 
published, or that Sir William Herschel had done these 
things, although, of course he had not put them " in print " 
one could understand and smile. Mr. Galton himself had 
modestly said, in 1895, Finger-print Directories (p. 5), 
" Those who will consent to stand on my shoulders, are 



likely to see their way to improvements more surely than 
if they do not accept that aid." Yet he had to lean on 
Bertillon's crutches ! 

However F.G., after having seemingly made out 
that mere " print " was not of much account, coolly decides 
that anything else I might have done, was not done at 
all, because I had not put it into "print." Sir William 
Herschel's work only came to light through the publicity 
given to my proposal. 

Is there one law then, for the baronet and his ftdus 
Achates, Mr. Galton, and another, and more stringent one 
for the provincial surgeon ? The statement, issued in a 
responsible scientific magazine like Nature, is very 
remarkable, because anyone versed in such problems can 
at once see that the " three elementary propositions " laid 
down by the reviewer cannot be disentangled one from 
another, in the practical relation which alone gives their 
discussion any value. 

How could anyone attempt to classify finger-prints 
for identification without recognizing the variety of 
patterns? How could anyone think of their variety as 
having value without permanence behind them ? How 
could anyone face the problem of dealing with masses of 
men for identification by these patterns without having 
already provided a system of classification? A little 
training in philosophy in a Scotch college would have 
saved F.G. from making so silly a blunder. I had as a 
matter of fact sent to Nature along with my article a 
series of figures— nature-printed — which the editor of 
Nature, in a note acknowledges and commends, but could 



not insert. These would have shown that I had not 
ignored, but had emphatically recognised, the great variety 
of patterns. Indeed, as I had been five years in the 
Paisley shawl trade before studying medicine, I had had 
exceptional technical training in the subject of patterns, 
and how to distinguish and classify them. My methods 
of careful measurement have been fully explained to 
experts in the Guide, and some figures of the delicate 
instruments needed are supplied in that work. It was 
not the lack of those provisions mentioned that 
made public men a little shy of the system. It 
was the clear perception I impressed on officials of the 
need of those very qualities that possibly made them 
imagine a greater difficulty than had really to be met. 
I write with a clear and vivid remembrance of those 
official and scientific objections, and was able in 1888 
(before Mr. Galton had, as he tells us. begun the study), 
to meet and answer them, every one. Now, as to 
details : — If I may modestly crave the liberty claimed by 
Sir William Herschel and Mr. F. Galton, to appeal to 
facts occurring outside of "print," surely my experiments 
and demonstrations to students and medical men in 
Tsukiji Hospital, Tokyo, were as public as Sir William 
Herschel's finally unsuccessful efforts to apply the system 
in India. My students, myself and several medical men, 
some of whom were western doctors, used pumice-stone, 
sand-paper, acids and razors to obliterate the lineations, 
time after time, without succeeding in modifying them in 
the slightest degree, over a period of about three years. A 
scheme I had formed to watch the history of any possible 
variations in a large number of individuals fell through in 
consequence of the misfortune which brought me suddenly 
back to England without time for arrangements. Enough 



12 



had been observed, however, to enable me confidently, as 
a practical biologist, to assert the invariableness, for 
practical identification purposes, of the patterns formed 
by the lineations of human finger-tips. This contention 
has been amply sustained by numerous workers, and my 
confidence in its validity was such that I never again 
seriously doubted that it had been sufficiently tested. So 
far from ignoring the possible danger of such variations, 
however, I am the only one who has ever publicly pointed 
out where such a danger is most likely to lurk, namely, 
in cases recovering from scarlet or typhoid fevers. I have 
endeavoured to enlist the interest of medical men and 
nurses in this subject, but hitherto have not received one 
solitary instance of such variations in reply to my 
numerous solicitations for aid' in this field of observation. 

As to my system of classification and indexing I 
cannot deal at present otherwise than in the way I have 
indicated in the preface to this pamphlet. The methods of 
Mr. F. Galton,and of Chief Commissioner Sir-fames-Henry 
(whose organisation has been highly commended), based 
on the former, are elementary, and were tried and discarded 
by me before adopting my own. They are, if I may say so 
without offence, what marsupials like the kangaroo are in 
the organic world — very good as a first draught, but they 
are never able to get much "forrarder." 

I offered to prepare a model bureau based on that 
method in 1 888-9 when a leading detective was sent to me 
by Scotland Yard to learn what were my plans for identi- 
fication by finger-prints. Mr. Galton was only beginning, 
if he had begun, the study then. 



i3 

The answer was that the system seemed to be 
scientific and ingenious, but that it was of no use then 
going into that matter till legislation had made the experi- 
ment possible. This matter is referred to in p. 88 of the 
Guide. The term "photograph" seems to be now used 
officially for finger-prints, so as to keep within the law. 
Teeth, I believe, have been knocked out in obtaining those 
novel sun pictures, made with printer's ink, by main force 
from reluctant criminals. I again laid my methods in this 
direction as fully as time permitted before Mr. Brodrick's 
Committee, who had to deal with the problem of identi- 
fication in the army. All this F. G. must have very well 
known when he reviewed my Guide to Finger- Print 
Identification, if he read the book, as the matter is stated 
in that work explicitly. The original form— a copperplate 
proof — for the five fingers of the right hand, prepared by 
me in Japan, about 1879, is in the Library of the Faculty 
of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. That for the left 
hand was prepared some months afterwards. 

The question in a nutshell is now reduced to some- 
thing like this. The priority of publication is conceded 
to me, but to me alone is evidence of any other kind than 
"print" to be denied. I have elsewhere showed how 
necessarily weak and indefinite was the method or rather 
' were the various tentative methods, brought into use for 
a brief time by Sir William Herschel. These are now 
absolutely known to be inapplicable, when even moderately 
large numbers have to be dealt with. 

My own original scheme in 1880, now officially 
adopted, of printing in serial order the lineations 
of all fingers of at least one hand is the only 



14 

one which gives security to the public and to the 
criminal himself against false identifications, although 
three fingers might suffice for many civil purposes. There 
are several good reasons why both hands should be im- 
printed in the case of recidivists. In conclusion, neither 
Sir William Herschel nor Mr F. Galton are known to me 
personally. They have both contributed very largely to 
the development of this complex, but most trustworthy, 
English method of scientific identification, a method which 
is rapidly being adopted for criminal purposes by the 
civilised world, and ought to have added to it now the 
nobler function of enabling us to deal efficiently with con- 
tracts and insurance and to recognise the dead after ship- 
wreck, earthquake, fire, or battle. My own feeling is that 
to have been of some humble service in the opening 
development of such a grand series of social utilities is in 
itself a great reward. 



"GUIDE TO FINGERPRINT 
IDENTIFICATION." 

By HENRY FAULDS, L.F.P.S., Mem. London Sociological Society, &c. 

Many years Surgeon-Superintendent of Tsukiji Hospital, Tokyo, Japan. 



PRICE:— Full Cloth, lettered In Cold, 3/6 net; Stiffened 
Paper Cover, 2/- net. Postage 3d. extra. 



PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR BY 

Wood, Mitchell & Co., Ltd., Printers & Publishers, Hanley. 



The author was the first to publish a proposal to use Finger-prints for identification, in 
Nature, October 28th, 1880, and was the only expert invited to give evidence before a Govern- 
ment Committee in 1902. Two months afterwards Finger-prints came into official use for the 
recognition of old offenders, and their use is increasingly successful. Every important point in 
Finger-print study is copiously illustrated by diagrams, nature -prints, and photographic 
enlargements, including some prints from the paws of monkeys. 

OPINIONS OF THE PRESS. 

There seems not a shadow of doubt that to Mr. Faulds belongs the honour of priority of 
publication in this matter. — Daily Chronicle (Review signed " Tighe Hopkins "). 

The article in Nature, 1880, was the first published suggestion, and was no doubt quite 
original on the part of the writer, to whom belongs all the credit due. — The Times. 

Illustrated with photographs and charts, the book may be recommended as a practical and 
useful study of the subject.— The Scotsman. 

A zealous and original investigator of finger-prints He can write well, and the 

photographic illustrations which his publisher has supplied are excellent. — Nature. 

Contains the fruits of over thirty years' study by the pioneer of the now universally 

accepted system, Mr. Henry Faulds A particularly lucid account of a complicated 

subject, and is interesting not only to specialists but to the general reader and the curiosity 
hunter alike. — Westminster Gazette. 

Credit where credit is due. Mr. Henry Faulds' claim to honourable mention in connection 
with the system . . . has been strangely overlooked. . . . His treatment of the "mask 
murders " case, for instance, is admirable. . . . This is altogether a very sane little treatise. 
It should be in the hands of everyone who has to do with identification by finger-patterns. — The 
Law Times, 

The reader is almost bound to be struck by the doctor's caution. He is fully alive to the 
dangers of the system in the hands of the incompetent, and he reiterates the necessity of the work 
being undertaken by experts with a scientific training. . . . The doctor may be congratulated 
on his aim to be thoroughly practical without being unduly technical. — The Hongkong Daily 
Presb. 

This work contains a clear account of the principles of dactylography, or finger-print 
study, &c. . . . The author rightly thinks that the readings of finger-print evidence should 
be submitted to the scientific expert, who alone can keep this kind of evidence free from fallacy ; 
to depend upon partially skilled persons must be a grave danger from a public point of view. — 
The Lancet. 

A most valuable scheme under proper safeguards. Both the scheme and the safeguards 
are adequately dealt with here.— The Law Magazine and Review. 



iS 



Oactploscopp. 



Although dactyloscopy — or, as I should prefer to call it, dactylo- 
graphy — has existed for a quarter of a century, no reference to it, or 
to its practical application in identification by the comparison of finger 
furrow patterns is to be found, so far as I know, in any recent text- 
book of medical jurisprudence or anatomy. It is not named or hinted 
at in the recent extension of the " Encyclopaedia Britannica," nor in the 
copious and well-arranged index to the whole of that extensive work. 

A few words of exposition, therefore, by one who has given some 
attention to the subject, may perhaps be helpful. 

The rugae or ridges of the skin, with their corresponding furrows, 
apart from any relation they may have to the sweat-pores and the 
tactile sense, seem to fulfil a useful function in the way of helping our 
hands to grasp objects firmly. When the fingers are well softened 
in water, and are then rubbed along a glass vessel, a musical sound is 
elicited, which seems to be caused by the successive resistance and 
yielding of the ridges. The horny-handed workman uses his physio- 
logical resources to give his hands a better grip in a well-known way. 
But a new utility has been conferred on the peculiar texture of the 
fingers. Looked at carefully, the furrows in the skin are seen to lie 
closely and evenly like those in a well-ploughed field. But just as the 
ploughman is observed sometimes to veer round some unseen obstacle 
and to form furrows in a new pattern, so you find in the palmar skin 
of the fingers peculiar patterns are formed. These present infinite 
varieties of detail, and resemble a greatly condensed railway map with 
junctions and sidings, loops, and curves. The rugae are confined to 
the palmar surfaces of the hands and feet. The feet, in this country 
at least, do not afford a convenient field for study, and the conditions 
of life would render them altogether unsuitable as a means of identifica- 
tion. With the hands, however, no such difficulty occurs, and their 
patterns have usually, I think, even more distinction of character about 
them. As I wrote to Charles Darwin twenty-four years ago, monkeys 
have similar but simpler patterns in the rugae of their fore and 
posterior toes. 



Dactyloscopy. 



In a long-continued series of experiments on myself and many 
others, by rubbing away the ridges with sand-paper or shaving them 
off with razors, I found that the patterns invariably reproduced them- 
selves with perfect fidelity. There can now be little doubt of their 
persistence during life, and the direct evidence of their continuity is 
now very great. This fact and their extraordinary complexity and 
variety is the basis of their growing use in identification. 

The parts of the palms which have been found most serviceable for 
■identification are those on the last phalanx of thumb and fingers, 
where specially characteristic ovals, circles, parallels, whorls, spirals, 
loops, dots, callipers, couplings, and the like, are to be observed. 

There are two complementary ways of printing them from nature, 
as ferns and leaves are copied. In the one method smooth or glazed 
paper is used, which has been evenly smoked at the flame of a candle 
or in some other way. The dactylografh , as I name the resulting 
print, is then negative, the ridges coming out white and the furrows 
black. Such impressions are often very delicate and beautiful, showing 
even the ]3ores perfectly. They may be made permanent by running 
some thin varnish or methylated spirit over them. Friar's balsam 
does very well for the purpose. The other and more practical mode 
for general use resembles ordinary printing. A porcelain tile, metal 
sheet, or ordinary school slate is smeared thinly and evenly with 
printers' ink, which may be dabbed on with a cork or a rag, or applied 
with a little printers' roller now sold for the express purpose. The 
resulting print is a positive dactylograph, in which the furrows remain 
white while the ridges impress their image in black. The distinction 
is of importance. A judge who insisted on examining for himself the 
imprints might be puzzled by the seeming contradictions in the 
language of experts as to particular ridges or furrows. 

A fine quality of ink is supplied by Reeves and Sons (Ltd.), 53, 
Moorgate-street, in little collapsible tubes, such as artists use. The 
paper is better to be slightly damp, and great care should be taken 
to prevent friction and smudging details while the ink is wet. 

I come now to the utility and trustworthiness of this mode of identi- 
fication. It was hoped at one time that photography would do every- 
thing for this department of jurisprudence. I have in my possession 
a series of aortraits of srominent aeoale done recently and others of 



Dactyloscopy. 



the same persons taken twenty years before. Pew of those duplicate 
portraits are at all recognisable as being of the same person. Then 
Bertillon's method of bodily measurements was of some service; but 
it is too delicate for any but experts to use accurately, and it is reported 
to have quite broken down under the strain of great numbers. Our 
Home Office was a little indisposed to move hastily in such a matter 
as dactylography, and Bertillon's system had the immense advantage 
of being of foreign manufacture, and had first to be tried. That the 
English system has at last taken root is now clear. Here is a bit of 
evidence from a criminal case (resulting in conviction) from the 
columns of the Daily Chronicle, December 2nd, 1903. Many such 
cases have never been reported. The witness is significantly described 
as Detective-Sergeant Collins, of the " Finger Print Office, Scotland 
Yard." The witness, we are told, had " not the slightest shadow of 
a doubt that the finger-prints of Elliott were identical with those in 
the records at Scotland Yard. He might be considered an expert on 
the matter of finger-prints. Altogether he had dealt with about 
500,000 cases of finger-prints." To this report may be added a sentence 
from that of the Times, of the same date: — "He had never known 
the finger-prints of different persons to agree." 

Experience has thus amply confirmed my original contention, based 
on much experiment and observation, that finger-print patterns are 
persistent. Such trivial modifications as occasionally, but rarely, occur 
have never, in my experience, affected the patterns so as to destroy 
the overwhelming evidence of identity they afford any more than a 
fresh pimple on a man's face would prevent us from recognising him 
on the street. 

The study of dactylography offers a wider field than that of its 
practical application in jurisprudence. I have been struck with the 
promise it gives of some light on heredity ; race relationships might even 
be traced back by its aid to certain lemuroids or anthropoid apes. 
Professor Bowditch, of Harvard, wrote me many years ago as to his 
interest in the developmental relationships of anterior and posterior. 
limbs as co-related to those patterns. 

I should like to suggest a careful scrutiny of prints taken at the 
onset of enteric and scarlet fevers, and then again after the completion 
of convalesence. Records should, of course, be carefully dated at 



Dactyloscopy. 



the time when made. One or both hands might be taken ; but even 
one or two fingers might yield interesting facts as to changes. I shall 
be happy to receive any examples of changes having been thus detected, 
to be returned if desired after scrutiny. 

The practical utility of dactylography, however, must now force 
itself on the minds of our profession, as it promises to be applied in 
widely different spheres of life. During war time identification is 
often impossible from injury or deca}'; but the rugae long retain their 
characteristics, and are quite easily seen in Egyptian mummies. 

Again, pensioners are proverbially long-lived, and I daresay their 
finger-patterns are not always quite persistent. Insurance frauds for 
large amounts are done by the 'personation of corpses, if I may use the 
term, aud where records had been made of dactylographs detection 
would be very simple. 

HENRY FAULDS. 

36, Lichfield Street, 
Hanley, Staffs. 



CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY